September 12, 2017
By: Cassie Schmidt
As exciting as a marathon race can be, which it really was, races are always looking for new ways to make themselves stand out and be even more exciting. They certainly acheived that at this race! The Via Marathon is one of the most popular races in the Lehigh Valley, it is also one of the fastest races in the entire United States! How do they determine that, you might ask? (I was wondering the same thing) they take the finishing times from every single finisher and come up with an average time, that time is then compared to other races and courses to see who’s is the fastest. The Boston Marathon, very widely known, is the first fastest race in the US. But how cool is it that we have our own right in our backyard?! The Via Marathon starts at the Lehigh Valley Hospital on Cedar Crest in Allentown, takes you through Bethlehem, then finishes up at Scott Park in Easton.
Another great thing about the Via Marathon is where all the proceeds from the marathon, half-marathon, relay and 5K go to; Via of the Lehigh Valley. Via of the LV is a non-profit organization that helps kids and adults with disabilities. They put on special events (some of which I been to and are absolutely amazing and truly puts your life into real perspective) that get those with the disabilities active or doing things that they may already want to do, but just need a little help getting there. They have a motto, per say, that even those that have a disability doesn’t mean they are any different from us or want to do different things than we do. So, what is better motivation for a runner or walker to have, than to know that while you’re out there having fun, breaking PR’s and racing with friends, you are also helping such an amazing cause!
Being that my father owns a specialty running store, I have been apart of races for a very long time. I have seen many crazy things happen at races, but I have never seen what took place at the finish line this past Sunday at the Via Marathon. A couple (whom I ironically know through my dad’s shop) raced the marathon together but what came at the finish line was the ULTIMATE surprise. Husband and wife, Brian and Alysha Flynn, are 20 weeks pregnant (YES, she is running a FULL marathon, 26.2 miles, pregnant!!) As the couple were making their way down the final stretch, into the shoot before the finish, out came out these huge, blue balloons! Yup, they had their very own gender reveal happening right as they crossed the finish! If that is not the greatest motivation to finish a marathon then I don’t know what is.
I had the opportunity to interview and chat with them after the finish and the smiles and laughter said it all. The excitement was so visible in their faces, how could you not want to talk to them? During the interview, the couple said that they knew there was a gender reveal at the finish but had ZERO clue as to what the gender was. In fact, they were debating and trying to guess for themselves what the baby was along the way. I had to laugh when Alysha said that they actually came to the conclusion that it was a girl. Dad certainly was very excited though to be having a boy, what dad wouldn’t be? Another thing Alysha said was that she was just happy to know who was inside of her stomach, because he kept kicking the entire time, feeling her heartbeat the entire way and she just wanted to know him. And now you do Alysha!
Congratulations to all of the finishers of the marathon, half-marathon, relay teams and 5K runners! And congratulations to Alysha and Brian, this will truly be something you and your family will never forget!